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Podcast: British-Iranian Blowup, Hijras Of Pakistan, And Conquest Of The Caucasus


Protesters break into the British Embassy in Tehran on November 29.

Protesters break into the British Embassy in Tehran on November 29.

The storming of the British Embassy by students in Tehran was one of the biggest stories of the week. Iran’s parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, said the attack was the result of longstanding animosity and tension between the two countries.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said it was difficult to believe the Iranian government was not involved. The action followed shortly after Britain cut off banking ties with Iran over its suspect nuclear program.

Golnaz Esfandiari

Golnaz Esfandiari

In Episode 47 of The Blender, we talk to correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari about what’s behind the diplomatic blowup and the longstanding U.K.-Iranian tensions.

We also report on at the challenges facing the "hijras" of Pakistan. They are transgender men who adopt the appearance of women. For decades, the hijras have struggled for equal rights, and sometimes for their very survival. But there has been progress in the last two years, and Pakistan’s Supreme Court has now granted them the right to vote. Correspondent Frud Bezhan has the story.

And we have a fascinating discussion with scholar Susan Layton, the author of the 2005 book "Russian Literature and Empire: Conquest of the Caucasus From Pushkin to Tolstoy." She examines the role of literature in empire-building with correspondent Salome Asatiani of RFE/RL’s Georgian Service.


This week's host is Bruce Jacobs.

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